This film is pure Ford. The murky sets remind me of "The Informer." And the cast is John Ford's famous stock company: Barry Fitzgerald, Mildred Natwick, John Qualen, Jack Pennick, Thomas Mitchell, and John Wayne. The story is based on a group of Eugene O'Neill one act plays about life on a merchant marine ship during wartime. The movie updated the story from O'Neill's WWI to the contemporary WWII. The actors drink, fight, cavort with loose women, fend off German attacks, and try to protect a naive, young Swedish sailor from being shanghaied.
That naive, young Swede is played by none other than the Duke, John Wayne. Although Thomas Mitchell, just coming off his Academy Award winning role in Ford's "Stagecoach," is the star; the Duke is very good in his supporting role. Here he's not playing some larger than life hero who rides tall in the saddle; instead he is naive Ole Olson who just wants to go home to his mother's farm in Sweden. Anyone who believes that John Wayne "just played himself" will be in for a pleasant surprise with his performance in "The Long Voyage Home."